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Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Rail Freight

IP Coordinator: Norbert Kahl - DB


Total Project Value:
€ 3 375 017,00
from 01/09/2016 to 31/07/2019
S2R (Of H2020) co-funding:
€ 1 499 857,50
Andrea Mazzone
Complementary projects:


FFL4E (Future Freight Locomotive for Europe) aims at developing key technologies for future energy efficient freight locomotives, allowing highest operational flexibility and providing attractive and competitive rail freight services to the final customer.

The key elements of the project are: digitalisation, automation in train operation, energy-supplied freight wagons, advanced functionalities and increased productivity. The challenge is to take the freight locomotive to the next level by:

  • improving the efficiency of propulsion systems with hybrid technologies and energy storage systems
  • improving last mile concepts
  • reducing LCCs, including wear
  • enabling longer trains up to 1500 meters
  • reducing emissions, including noise
  • introducing driver advisory systems (DAS)
  • enabling autonomous driving

To accelerate the development process, the FFL4E looks for additional knowhow to be brought in by Dynafreight project.

Project Structure

WP01 - Management

WP02 - System Integration & Technical Coordination

This Work Package aims at establishing an efficient system integration and technical coordination between the Work Packages 3 to 5 and other IPs. The objectives are to:

  • Look for synergies among the work packages and share results;
  • Look for synergies with other IP’s and share results (e.g. IP1-TD5 Brakes: CONNECTA project);
  • Align the requirement specifications among the work packagers, where possible;
  • Keep the alignment with the overall objectives of the project (aligned with WP1);
  • Contribute to any relevant decision at WP level on issues that may affect the achievement of the overall objectives of the project.

WP03 - Future Freight Locomotives

This work package will focus on two main areas, being one the bogie design, with respect to low wear, noise emission, and the other various hybridization concepts including the integration of energy storage systems.
The objectives are to:
  • Develop innovative designs for the next generation 4 and 6 axle bogies featuring massive reduction of wheel and track wear and lower noise emissions. The designs shall be proven by laboratory demonstrators. These efforts are of paramount importance for rail freight operators as the successful implementation will reduce overall costs (some network operators start to introduce track access charging schemes ), and as they will improve the acceptance of the freight trains in the neighbourhoods of railway lines. Maximum noise emissions of #82dB will be a standard in near future;
  • Develop new hybridization concepts for future propulsion systems, demonstrated in the lab.

WP04 - Full Electric Last Mile Propulsion System

The aim of this work package is to successfully integrate, commission and certificate powerful Li-Ion batteries in mainline railways applications, with a focus on full electric last mile propulsion use cases, thus with batteries having high energy and power density. Besides technical aspects, such as an efficient cooling system, a precise mission and energy management, the safety aspect is of high relevance. The safety case and assessment will be done and the final certification addressed. At this point it must be said that there are still no norms and standards for the integration of Li-Ion batteries and one of the reasons, why such batteries are not yet employed. Additionally to the work mentioned above, standardization shall be pushed and if possible, norms formulated.

WP05 - Long Trains

This work package aims to establish solid and consistent specifications for technological solutions that enable longer and heavier trains to be operated and to define the architecture bringing together the different technologies.
The work package contains two parallel activities, being the definition of the business requirements and the development of the prototype

Activity 1 includes:
  • Technology and patent research
  • Definition of the functional requirements
  • Numeric simulation of train configurations
  • Operational concept and disturbance management
  • Development of a business case
  • Definition of stakeholder management and public involvement

Activity 2 (development of the prototype) includes:
  • System specification, according to consolidated operational modes and assessed safety requirements
  • Subsystem and system development
  • Test of braking performances on real train simulator and laboratory verification
  • System integration on two locomotives
  • Implementation of a prototype and pilot on a test run for validation and with a limited set of runs needed to demonstrate in a protected environment (multiple drivers, extra safety expedients) the operability of the train.

WP06 - Dissemination




Results and Publications

FFL4E - D3.1 - Evaluation report of three most promising design


FFL4E - D4.1 - Transport Models Case Studies




FFL4E - D5.1 - Technology Awareness


FFL4E - D5.5 Test report


FFL4E - D6.2 - Report on communication and dissemination activities


FFL4E - D6.x - Publication on WP04 - TRA2018


FFL4E - D6.x - Publication on WP05 - TRA2018


FFL4E - Final Conference


FFL4E - Presentation S2R Freight Event at TRA 2018


FFL4E Newsletter

Since 2008, the rail freight market has not yet recovered from the global recession and profit margins in the railway sector have been falling throughout Europe. Moreover, competition was able to increase their capacity due to innovations. Within the last 15 years, inland vessels have increased their transport capacity by 158%, truck transportation by up to 50% while rail freight transportation only by 3% thanks to increasing the length of trains to 740 metres. SHIFT²RAIL IP5 addresses this issue by fostering a vision for future rail freight operation offering increased quality and efficiency while simultaneously improving the overall cost structure. The target is to shift the road freight volumes for distances beyond 300 km to other modes in the range of 30% and 50% by the years 2030 and 2050 respectively. In this context, the FFL4E project (Future Freight Locomotive for Europe) has been aiming at developing key technologies for future energy efficient freight locomotives, allowing highest operational flexibility and providing attractive and competitive rail freight services to the final customer. Andrea Mazzone, Project Coordinator (Bombardier Transportation)


Using Batteries for Maximum Operational Flexibility in Rail

Article written for the S2R website "Innovation in the Spotlight". The work was mainly done within FFL4E WP3 and WP4. Direct link:


All deliverables, results and publications herewith provided reflects only the author's view and the S2R JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Andrea Mazzone

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No: 730823